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More than 80 percent of CRP bids accepted in Nebraska

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday that 64,692 acres of land in Nebraska was accepted into the Conservation Reserve Program from the last signup during September.

According to the USDA, there were 1,513 bids offered for 87,77.7 acres in Nebraska. A total of 1,229 bids were accepted for 64,692 acres.

For this 29th sign-up, USDA selected 1.188 million acres of the 1.672 million acres offered in this sign-up. The 2002 Farm Bill authorized CRP enrollment up to 39.2 million acres.

According to the USDA, this signup had one of the highest acceptance rates in the history of CRP, as 76 percent of the bids offered were accepted. In Nebraska, 81 percent of the bids were accepted. There is now nearly 1.2 million acres of CRP enrolled in the CRP in Nebraska.

Nationwide, the average rental rate per acre was $50.24 providing annual rental payments of approximately $60 million to farmers for the 1.188 million acres. This additional acreage raises the total acreage in the CRP to 35.6 million acres.

USDA said it received just over 26,000 offers for enrollment during the August 30 to September 24, 2004 sign up time frame and accepted 19,732. Offers accepted under this sign-up may become effective either on Oct. 1, 2005, or in the following year on Oct. 1, 2006, whichever the producer chooses.

First established by Congress in 1985, the CRP allows eligible farmers and ranchers to voluntarily establish long-term conservation practices on highly erodible and environmentally sensitive cropland. In exchange, they receive 10 to 15 years of annual rental payments and cost-share assistance for maintaining those practices.

Offers with an EBI score of at least 248 were considered acceptable for enrollment. The average score of this sign-up was 287.

In August, the USDA announced several initiatives to help achieve full enrollment of the Conservation Reserve Program. Among them were the Bobwhite Quail Habitat Initiative, an expanded Wetland Restoration Initiative, a Federal Register Notice seeking public comment on CRP implementation, and a general CRP sign-up, running from Aug. 30, 2004, through Sept. 24, 2004.

The Federal Register Notice has been published and sign-up started on Oct. 1, 2004, for both the Bobwhite Quail Initiative and the Wetlands Restoration Initiative.

More detailed information on the 29th general sign-up and on the CRP is available on FSA's Web site at:

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© The Grand Island Independent

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